How I Turned Anxiety Into Creativity (Megan’s Story)

I’m beyond glad to be able to post this, after such a long hard academic quarter here at Columbia (My apologies for the brief hiatus.)  Megan is one of the most outstanding performers I’ve seen here at CCC. Every now and then I’ll get to meet people who are way beyond their years in their talents, Megan is one of those people. She has such an amazing way of performing and marketing her self in the world, and it truly inspires me and I’m sure many others. Please take some time to read her interview, it’s definitely bound to inspire you as well.

 

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Photo by Claire Thomas

Megan Troglio Interview 

 

Tell me a little bit about your childhood. Where did you grow up? What was life like? Were both of your parents in the picture? What was your view on life?

I grew in Peoria Illinois in the wings of theaters and have been acting ever since I was six years old. I started in camps and then I eventually worked my way up to shows. I always loved acting and singing, and I loved pretending to be something that I was not. When it came to my real life, my mom would just tell me stuff like “Pretend to be happy” and it was really unsettling to me. My parents stayed together till I was in 3rd grade after that they divorced and then things were fine. We were a normal functioning family because we didn’t want to pretend that we weren’t functioning I always had a “backpack life” jumping back and forth to each of their places and I loved it.

High school was when things started to change. My dad had more so of a conservative ideal where he wanted me to stay home, while my mom was the opposite and wanted me to do everything I possibly could. Those two ideals being forced at the same time pushing me back and forth truly drove me insane. But I found refuge in theaters and in going to school and pretending to be someone different. I loved getting to act because I got to be something different for a minute.

My comedy came from laughing a lot at the ridiculousness that was my parents. I love them to death, I truly do but they were absolutely crazy people, just like everyone’s parents were and I would always tell my life in the things that my parents would put me through.

A lot of times I was left alone, and I had to learn how to stand my ground and be my own individual person and I am thankful for that. My mom ended up losing her job my junior year. So my junior and senior year I lived in my mom’s house alone. My brother lived in the basement at my mom’s house but we were so weirdly separated we each just did our own thing In my mind I felt practically alone but he was always there. I had people in my life who were there to help me, but as far as my parents went as the truest forms of parents, they weren’t there. Which I think is okay, and it is okay. It’s something that still bugs me and it honestly does because I’m still talking about it, but I’m thankful because that’s where my comedy side comes from.

A lot of times I was left alone, and I had to learn how to stand my ground and be my own individual person and I am thankful for that.

What was the transition from your home life to Columbia like?

I originally came to Columbia as a comedy writing/performance major which was a way for me to elaborate on all my good jokes which stemmed from all the horrible things my parents put me through, but I remember one day my comedy foundations teacher Joe Janes asked me to write three jokes about my family and that absolutely crushed my world. My first semester was absolutely destroyed because I remember writing those jokes down and I looked them in the face and I was literally soul crushed because I remember thinking about how truthful and honest, yet sad those jokes were. they were funny, but they were true. That’s why I’ve always admired the comedy writing majors because they live their truths every single day.

When would say anxiety came into the picture? I know you stated there were a lot of tensions between you and your parents, but what really stimulated your anxiousness?

I feel like anxiety is an emotion, anxiety is different than just your typical disorder. It’s a feeling that everyone knows and that everyone has. For me, I’ve never been officially diagnosed with anxiety and I’ve never had to put on medication but for me, it was always about denying my anxiety as much as I possibly could. It’s something that I now feel like I have control over and can deal with. But for a while, it was really bad and would come over me at random times.

What would you say was the rock bottom of your testimony?

My rock bottom was probably in between sophomore and junior year. I had lost really close friends the winter before and the stress from my parents and everything left me alone in bed doing nothing on my 16th birthday. In fact, I don’t think I even celebrated itThat’s when I would say I felt the most “depressed” but once again I denied those feelings and pushed myself through.

This past summer was when I noticed my anxiety the most, at least how much control it had over me when I wasn’t looking.  I would have a lot of anxiety attacks and there were many triggers that contributed to it, but I intentionally focused on it to try and understand more about it.

What is the main trigger of your anxiety?

Honestly, just the feeling of abandonment and feeling left behind, that’s a big one. I also feel like being misrepresented and sexualized when I’m not trying to be sexualized really creates that feeling as well. Building anxieties overall are also a pretty big trigger.

You were talking this past summer what was it like with the anxiety attacks?

I tended to just block things out I do know that I do know that they were never daily, but I do know the feeling of being just tensed up and anxious. I remember feeling horribly tensed up in my shoulders and feeling it building and building in my voice and I can just remember the anxiety building up and it would eventually crack. They would always come with a bunch of panting and heavy breathing and it would always include confusion and misunderstanding. Thankfully I fell in love with someone during the summer and he really helped me understand something of the things I was going through. he came to visit me once and I remember we went on a walk and the first half of the walk was great, but the second half I got tired and stressed and It was hot and there were a lot of people around me and I remember feeling completely toned down and blacked out. When I had panic attacks they would be really dark and I would pull away from everyone and just suffer in the silence.

What do you think were the main steps you took to overcome this problem?

For me its always been about trying to claim ownership over myself. I’ve always found it helpful to have a journal just to write down everything that is my brain. It’s given my hands and mind something to keep my mind busy and it’s giving me opportunities to be creative. I never feel anxious when I am creating because I focus all of my time and energy into to my work instead of my own anxiousness. I remember I would also always try to slow down and breathe, and I would always eventually become calm again and become relaxed. I’ve also noticed that whenever I am with someone and they rub my back while its happening and continue to reassure me that everything is okay that has really helped.

Time affects me now, and to see how I am right now here in Chicago versus where I want to be five years from now drives me crazy.

I’ve also noticed that whenever I am with someone and they rub my back while its happening and continue to reassure me that everything is okay that has really helped. Time affects me now and to see how I am right now here in Chicago versus where I want to be five years from now drives me crazy. I think I’m just trying to create a consistent life for myself and create something that is stable and normal. I’ve never really had that before, that stable consistent life. I feel like that’s really different for people who have just come home and have just moved out. In all honesty, I’m truly striving to get married, live in a house, have a dog, and talk to no one ever again (laughs) Again that’s what I really want, but that’s not now and it’s so far away from now. It’s what my heart wants and it where I want to go, but it’s so not now and that’s what drives me crazy.

What is your biggest worry now as a performer?

I’m worried about money, that’s not necessarily a huge worry or anything but you know money is something that we all need to have to survive in society. I’m also worried that one day my internet name will take over itself and will be outrun and come crashing down. I don’t think that will happen and I think I have a pretty good handle on all that stuff, but I overall I really try not to worry because worries and stressors are a big anxiety booster for me, but there still is that anxiety there that I have no idea what I am doing. I am truly trying to grab every opportunity I can possibly get while here in Chicago so I can make money in this industry, but I also want to make content that will truly make people happy and smile.

What’s the catalyst that gets you out of bed every morning wanting to create things? What gives you the drive to continue to pursue being creative?

I have nothing left, this is what I have. I have absolutely no money and I don’t really have a place to live back home. This past winter break I had to borrow my brother’s car and jump place to place and couch to couch in Peoria. There is really nothing left for me there, I mean there are people there who love me and will help me out but really what gets me out of bed is the thought of knowing that if I don’t get out of bed that morning then I won’t have anywhere else to go. My favorite times of life are the times whenever I am so busy and hectic that I can’t get tired because it gives me purpose. Being an artist at this school is all I have left, and the internet, thank God for the internet.

What gets me out of bed is that I really want to try and build this life on my own so I don’t have to rely on anyone. Right now I have a lot of help and I am so grateful but I hope to one day help them instead of them giving so much to me.

If you could go back in time and talk to your third-grade self right after your parents had split up knowing all that you know now, what would you say?

I would tell myself that “I love you.” It’s funny I remember the very first thing I had ever written down in a journal were the words “I love you.” I would also tell myself to join every single activity she possibly could which she ended up doing, but I would say stick with them

Would you say for the most part that you are contempt with the life that you have lived and all that is happening right now?

Yeah, me personally as an individual I feel like I’ve gotten myself through the life game and have done the best I’ve could. At the end of the day, I’m just trying to be a good person, and I think so far I’ve hopefully been a pretty decent person.

What is your advice to the young artist wanting to pursue a career on the internet?

I would say just make something. I know that’s like the most cliche thing you can possibly say, but I would just say “make something” because I find myself taking creations that I have made in the past and continuously mixing them and adding on to them. Social media sets up outlines and platforms for everyone and it’s our job to go in and fill it with color and life. It’s our job to make up what it means to be a human on that page.

Why is your life worth living?

It is the only one that this voice has. It’s the only one this voice in this particular body and mindset will ever have.

What is Megan Troglio’s purpose here on earth? What the goal to be accomplished before you pass away?

I think the goal in life has always been to make Megan Troglio a name and I think that, that basic goal and making that person has always been a project that I have been working on and it will always continue to be a project that I am working on. I’m just really lucky and have gotten to start up this working machine, but overall I just want to be remembered if anything.

 

Megan has such an amazing determination and work ethic, and it’s seen throughout all of her work. I love how she is able to take something as daunting as anxiety and channel it through all of her creative mediums. Feel free to check out her website and be sure to follow her on social media as she continues to create.

 

“What drives you to perform is the need for that primal connection.” – Robbin Williams

listen.love.repeat:||

-LCH

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